VONDELING FYNBOS SURVEY
The Paardeberg Mountain—our vineyards fan across its slopes and foothills—is rich in indigenous fynbos. Notably there are four species that are endemic as well as unique to the area: the Babiana noctiflora, Erica hippuris, Oscularia paardebergenis and Serruria roxberghii.
Vondeling`s flagship white and red wines have been named after two of these red data listed plants, namely the Babiana (white) and the Erica (red). In addition, a new, still to be named, Micranthus species has been discovered.
Following a fire on the Paardeberg in January 2011, a botanical survey was commissioned by the Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative (PSI) in collaboration with Vondeling Wines to record the plant species growing on the mountain. The post fire fynbos regrowth was documented for 18 months through plant collections and photographic records. To date, over 900 species in over 70 families have been collected. Approximately 10 per cent of these species are listed as threatened.
The collection is housed in a field herbarium on Vondeling, with a duplicate collection stored in the Compton Herbarium at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
All of the species have been photographed and geo-tagged, and the spectacular array of blooms inspired the coffee table book, Fire to Flower; A Chronology After a Wildfire in Fynbos written and photographed by Ruth Garland and Greg Nicholson. This beautifully put together book also acts as a species identification field guide for the for the Paardeberg and surrounding areas. To purchase a copy of Fire to Flower, Click here. (The project was funded by Vondeling partner, Anthony Ward.)
WATCH: The Fynbos Survey:
BIODIVERSITY AT VONDELING
Vondeling was a proud supporter of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative, established in 2004 to promote awareness and participation in driving conservation minded farming practices. In 2014, Vondeling was awarded Championship status within this organisation.
Between 2005 and 2015, with the support of the WWF and BWI extention officers, a strong foundation of wine farms implementing biodiversity-friendly farming practices has been established. One third of the wine industry now has environmental management plans in place, co-developed with WWF, together with training to deliver on these guidelines.
In 2016, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative ceased to exist as its initial mandate had been fulfilled, however, Vondeling continues its commitment to conservation of our unique biodiversity under the banner of the WWF as “Conservation Champions.”
For more information about WWF Conservation Champions, click here.
PAARDEBERG SUSUTAINABILTY INITIATIVE
The PSI was established by Dr. Bridget Johnsen in 2001 as a response to threats to the biodiversity and natural resources of the Paardeberg. PSI is currently registered as a Non-Profit Company pursuing PBO Section 18A status. It is aligned with several enterprises, which share its vision and operate in the Paardeberg, and in this sense can be defined as a partnership venture.
Through fundraising for various integrated non-profitable projects, the PSI seeks to promote sustainability of the greater Paardeberg area. The PSI also encourages local profitable enterprises to contribute generously and tax-efficiently to a central fund that is managed by the Board of Directors of the PSI.
Some of the projects funded and/or managed by the PSI include
The establishment of the Paardeberg Fire Protection Association
Erosion repair project in 2010
Post fire fynbos survey conducted in 2011/2012
Renewable energy projects
Establishment of aftercare facilities in the Paardeberg area
Vondeling Waste Water Management improvements …EIA completed in 2012
For more information on the Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative, visit http://www.psiprojects.co.za/
In August 2012, a camera trap, installed with the support and assistance of the Cape Leopard Trust, confirmed suspicions that Cape Leopard are residing in the Paardeberg Mountain.
The leopard alerted us to his presence, with paw-prints and faecal scat, demonstrating a diet including bones and porcupine quills! A roofing team working on an elevated house, claimed to have seen him some months before this. Then, typical territorial scratch marks were discovered on a tree by the team working on a post-fire Botanical Survey, commissioned by the Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative (PSI) and Vondeling Wines.
The camera trap also photographed some small antelope, a Civet Cat, a Caracul with a “Dassie” kill, porcupine and several baboons.
As part of Vondeling Wines’ continuous efforts to reduce its carbon footprint through conservation and sustainable farming, we have converted from conventional electricity supply to solar power in an effort to minimise the estate’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Over 160 solar panels have been installed which will provide Vondeling with 80 200 kWh on average annually. This means that the main wine cellar, bottle store, tasting room/wedding venue, chapel and all staff accommodation will be self-sufficient.
The solar power is enough to supply all but our highest electrical needs, which take place during hot days at peak harvest. Outside of these times, i.e. during winter and over weekends, we will be completely green. Winter weddings will run 100% on green energy as there is still more than enough sun to cover our winter requirements.
The solar PV system will reduce our carbon footprint substantially. We have an APP which enables us to monitor our current usage, how much kW the system is generating, how much CO2 emissions we are NOT pumping into the atmosphere and the amount of crude oil we save.
Vondeling is a proud Gold Business Supporter of the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa